A Hoosier making a living by collecting bottles and cans for almost ten years now
ELKHART, Ind. -- One man’s trash is said to be another man’s treasure and that’s the case for one Elkhart man driving several miles a day to make a living picking up abandoned bottles and cans.
Paul Caey wakes up every morning at 5 a.m. to start his self-created canning job where he drives around to various locations to pick up bottles and cans.
“That’s what makes it nice, is being your own boss,” said Caey.
He’s constantly on the go looking for bottles, bottles and more bottles.
Caey has been canning for about 10 years to make a living to support himself and his roommate who has a health condition.
“I could get a regular job if I wanted but everybody has a choice. I like doing this and I can do it at my convenience and still be there for my roommate,” Caey said.
He says this job allows him to take the frequent breaks needed to check up on his roommate.
Every can he finds, when recycled, can be returned to Sam Winers and Co in Elkhart or takes a drive to local recycling centers in Michigan to make 10 cents.
“It takes 10 of these to make a dollar… put it this way, I won’t make nothing under a hundred dollars,” said Caey, as he points to his buckets of containers in the trunk of his truck.
Caey is not only dedicated but organized too and there’s a specific reason for it.
He has a Michigan pile and an Indiana pile.
He separates his haul of cans and bottles depending on where he can drop off the metal and glass.
“This will not go into Michigan. But I can still take them over to Sam Winers and get paid so much for pounds,” said Caey as he points to a can that does not have a barcode.
Michigan has a bottle deposit law that all recycled containers need to be labeled with bar codes that a machine reads.
If there is no bottle barcode, that means no money for Caey so he makes sure to throw them in the Indiana pile.
Caey says he doesn’t seem himself doing anything else and he loves what he does.
“This is a job. A good job, you make good money. Not millions and millions of dollars but you are still making money,” Caey said.
Both making money and making a difference too by picking up all the containers that most of the time just end up in landfills.
“It’s rewarding at the end of the day when you say I made a hundred-dollar bill today,” Caey said.